Empathy Empathy is a skill that I find to be imperative to leading efficiently and effectively. One of the most important processes in team leadership or organizational leadership is communication, and effective communication is difficult without empathy. If you want to be heard and respected as a leader, you must first listen and show respect to your followers. Empathy is more than just being able to understand the feelings of others, it is being able to relate and connect with others as well. There is a lot to be said for being able to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” To be empathetic is to see the value in the perspectives of others, especially when they do not align with your own. Empathy is intricately connected to an individual’s emotional intelligence and their ability to read situations. Empathy in Leadership As leaders, we want our followers to feel comfortable and confident sharing ideas and perspectives with others. It is our job to provide a safe environment for communication and sharing. Empathy is important in developing personal connections, but beyond that, empathy is important in leadership because it develops trust, communication, and a sense of worth for team members. Leaders also have a moral obligation to show empathy when communicating with others, particularly followers. Autocratic leadership is not valued in modern organizations or by today’s workforce, especially when it comes to team development. As many organizations utilize teams in one way or another, communicating with empathy and an open mind is pertinent to success.
Artifact The artifact that I feel best reflects my understanding and personal reflection on the importance of empathy in leadership is a worksheet that I completed for OGL 220, Behavioral Dynamics in Organizations. The worksheet was a short answer, two question assignment connected to module two’sreadings and videos on emotional intelligence and empathy. Emotional intelligence and empathy are interconnected, and this module really made me reflect on the importance of both in effective leadership. This was one of my first experiences with TED Talks, surprisingly enough, and I really found positivity and growth in the messages conveyed by Sam Richards.
Reflection Empathy in Organizational Leadership Communication skills are one of the most important qualities good leaders must possess, and meaningful and effective communication cannot exist without empathy and understanding. We live in a world where people place a lot of value on respectfulness and open-mindedness in their leaders and in their organizations. Organizations are being held accountable for their lack of empathy towards their employees, the communities they serve, and the environments they affect. It matters to us as leaders and followers that our chosen organizations represent our values and that we can stand behind them with integrity. Unempathetic and heartless corporations are outdated. Including this competency in my portfolio did not feel important, it felt necessary. Organizations today recognize that empathetic leadership is a requirement for success in today’s business markets.
Personal Growth & Development I have been working for Starbucks for eight years, and the majority of that time has been spent as a shift supervisor and barista trainer for my store. Many of my courses over the past two years have highlighted the importance of empathy and emotional intelligence, especially when it comes to communication and building team cohesion. I found that having an “empathy toolbox” of skills and practices that encourage growth and emotional intelligence was helpful to me in my everyday position as a leader in my store. My organization is full of wonderful diversity that I am immensely proud to be a part of. I know that when I graduate and move on from my position as a shift supervisor that I will have already put my project management and organizational leadership skills into practice and that Iam ready for the next step.